Humpback Whales





Introduction: Humpback Whales

My completed recent paper mache project of mother and calf humpback whales.

Step 1: Making the Armatures.

The process of making the armatures was the same for both whales only to different scales. I worked from an A4 sized line drawing of a humpback. For the mother I multiplied the dimensions by three and for the calf by 1.2.

I made sure I stayed within this original outline to maintain the correct shape. I used masking tape to attach wire to the tail flukes and flippers and also the tail section of the mother. This allowed shaping of these features to create a more lifelike appearance. The body shape was achieved by filling it all out with bubble wrap and then covered with masking tape.

Step 2: Paper Mache

I then like to coat the armature in at least one layer of paper mache strips. This when dry firms everything up and makes for a nice surface for the paper clay in the next step to adhere to.

Step 3: Paper Clay.

Next step I apply a thin layer of paper clay. The recipe for this and other recipes I use can be found on Jonni Goods fantastic website, Ultimate Paper Mache .com.

I strongly suggest you look this site up, it is a fantastic introductory to Paper mache and has had me hooked since I first discovered it. Product names for the different products used vary around the world. It is basically made of pulped toilet paper, Elmers or PVA glue and Gibstop or Dry Wall compound with a little bit of linseed oil. It can be shaped and molded and once dry can be sanded. For the mounting of the whales I used an old vehicle windscreen phone mount, part of which I epoxied to a small piece of 6mm MDF board, I then epoxied this to the armature.This was covered with both layers of clay so that only the black part was showing. The second layer of clay is the one I add all the detail to including, the eyes, throat pleats and lips etc. For the callouses I used polystyrene bean bag fillers.

Step 4: Gesso Time

Final coat is a gesso which is a mixture of Gibstop or drywall and PVA or Elmers glue. Again check out Ultimate Paper Mache .com for recipe details. This coat when dry can be sanded back to an almost ceramic like finish. The photo of the flippers shows it still wet while in the others you can see it dry and sanded. The flippers had wires extending out of them which were used to attach them the bodies once small holes had been drilled. These were epoxied in place and then clay and gesso covered the joins adding muscle structure and shape to the join. You can also see the completed phone mount here which had two holes drilled into it for the fixing bolts that bolted the completed whales to the backing board. All that was left now was the painting of the backing board and the whales. I wanted it to look like they were diving so you could see the underside of the surface of the water with the sunlight reflecting through. All in all I am very happy with the result and as this is my first "Instructable" I will be entering it into the competition.



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    Thanks for that, I never thought of it like that. I just wanted to come up with a way of mounting them that didn't look to different from the overall sculpture.

    No, I have only recently rediscovered paper mache. It is not like what we used to do as kids. I have always done charcoal and graphite drawings but never really sculpture. Now I have started I can not stop, I find it both relaxing and very addictive. Thanks for your comments.

    Awesome! Do you sculpt in any other medium?

    Michelle Irish, I was wondering how you are getting on? Have you started a project yet? Can I offer ably assistance?

    I'd like to make this but I need precise steps and measurements. Do you have a website or somewhere I can go to to get the details of this instructable? This is beautiful - absolutely gorgeous and I must make one!!!

    3 replies

    Michelle Hi, Sorry but this was entirely my creation using lessons learnt from Check this link out for my guest post on this website It may give you some more help. Other than the photos I took down no other information. I worked from a one dimension line drawing and scaled it up x 3 for the mother and x 1.2 for the calf. I was surrounded by whale pictures and kept referring to them all the time. I suggest maybe you start on something smaller or easier. The above website also has 3d patterns for various critters and this is where I started. The photos here and on my guest post pretty much show the process. Give it a go and goood luck. Hope this has been of some help.

    You've inspired me to want to start paper mache. Thank you once again!

    No worries Michelle, be careful tho you will get hooked. I'm sorry I couldn't be any more helpful with my previous comment. If you do have a go at making your own armature, once you have your scaled up drawing cut out of cardboard always try and work inside this shape. If you go over obviously your completed shape will be different. A bit like coloring in I suppose, try and stay inside the lines. Immerse yourself in your topic and, always refer to reference material.

    "There are no mistakes, just our own interpretations."

    Good Luck.

    Thanx for that.

    Thanx for that, I am thrilled to have finally posted something to this amazing website.